Students from programs across the University are selected to receive grants from the University’s Alumni Association to offset registration costs for students to present at or attend a virtual conference, workshop or professional development event related to their program or interests/goals for the future.

Travel Grant Recipient Collage
Click the names below to read about the experiences of several grant recipients!

Madeleine Stucky ’21OT

Travel Grant Madeleine Stucky"The Alumni Association's travel grant made it possible for me to travel to Guatemala with an Occupational Therapy (OT) classmate, a local practicing OT mentor, and Salus Physician Assistant (PA) students and faculty. The seven-day trip was a unique opportunity for interprofessional collaboration and reminded us of all of the factors that go into intercultural communication. I had barely spoken Spanish since graduating college six years ago, but since our OT mentor was a native Spanish speaker, we met patients and discussed ergonomics and biomechanics with them. Additionally, we learned about the differences in rehabilitative treatment in developing countries from Guatemalan practitioners.

Guatemalan physical and occupational therapists allowed us to co-treat with them in their clinic, and we worked with them and our mentor to create an adaptive chair for one pediatric patient. At mobile clinics, those of us on the OT team discussed patients' needs and medical concerns with them to help with triage before they were treated by the PA members of our team."

Liana Ferreira ’21OD

Travel Grant Liana Ferreria"I was able to attend the American Academy of Optometry Meeting in October 2019. This was a unique experience for me personally as it was my first time attending. I was able to attend some classes as well as explore the Expo Hall learning about different vendors and more about my profession. It was also a great networking opportunity as I was able to speak with doctors and representatives from across the country.

While I was there I also presented a poster. This was my third poster that I was able to present while being a Salus Pennsylvania College of Optometry student. I give a tremendous amount of credit to my mentor, Dr. (Lynn) Greenspan, who guided and supported me tremendously through this journey."

Viviana L. Di Stefano ’20PA

"It was the most rewarding experience that I have ever had. As a future Physician Assistant (PA), my goal is to help the underserved population with a focus on minorities. Guatemala illustrated that my choice to become a PA was the best choice I could have made. My peers and I were divided into four groups and had one Physician Assistant to consult our cases with. An advantage for me personally, was the fact that I speak Spanish. I was able to be with one peer without the need of a translator. It allowed us to use our skills in the first year in a fast-paced environment to make a diagnosis and come up with a treatment plan.

Travel Grant Viviana DiStefanoIn the classroom setting and in a country with so many resources, the sky is the limit. When you are in a country with limited resources, you have to work with what you have. We went to different cities to help different populations of patients. We went to a place called the "Dump," which is where people live on a landfill and make their living off of it. "The Dump" was the hardest for me. Here, we fed the kids and gave t-shirts. They walked us through the landfill to get us exposed to their living conditions. As a parent, it was truly heartbreaking to see children my son's age, playing in the landfill with plastic on the floor to clean their muddy feet.

The orphanage was beautiful in the sense that we got to see how Hearts in Motion takes care of the kids in the community. The director of the program gave a prayer before the meals were dispersed. We had the chance to read some books, which were illustrated by one of the faculty's friends, to the children there. We had half a day to ourselves, where we got to try the delicious coffee made locally, zipline, and have a night on the town."

Payton Burke ’21AUD

"With the help of the Alumni Association's travel grant, in November I was able to attend the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Conference in Orlando, Fla. I traveled down with two of my classmates and we had the privilege to attend seminars, network, and continue our education in this setting. This was my first conference of this magnitude and I was in awe of how smooth the event was run considering there were thousands of people there.

Travel Grant Payton BurkeWe were able to attend seminars and poster sessions on a variety of topics such as cochlear implant measurements, aural rehabilitation, and how audiology and speech-language pathology interaction is critical for the best patient care. Another aspect of the conference that I was so thankful to networking with other audiology students, current audiologists, speech language pathology professionals and students and so many more incredible people. I was able to meet two audiology students who will, along with myself, be completing their 4th year externships in Washington, D.C. so we all are able to have that connection in a new city.

Overall, I am so thankful for the opportunity to attend this conference and I wouldn't have been able to financially support the travel without the help of the Alumni Association's travel grant. These memories, lessons, and connections will stay with me throughout my professional career and all I can say is thank you!"